I am a native speaker of English and a proficient speaker of Spanish. I started Portuguese to see how similar it really is to Spanish. I had heard and read a lot, but now I see. It is beautifully different but shockingly similar. It sounds different, but still has the remniscience of Spanish. Such a lovely tongue. Até mais.
Portuguese is indeed a very beautiful language. Until quite recently I had always thought of it as a weird dialect of Spanish, both languages looking similar to me in their written form.
But I completely changed my mind when I discovered Portuguese music, and found out how beautiful this language sounds: it's very similar to Spanish on paper, yet sounds so different!
As a native speaker of French, both Spanish and Portuguese sound relatively familiar to me, yet Spanish has somehow always sounded "foreign", while Portuguese (this is probably due to the surprisingly high phonological similarity with French) sounds much more familiar: cognates sound closer to their French equivalents and are easier to "naturally" recognise (basically I can get a "feel" for Portuguese more than for Spanish, which is a bit surprising, as I would have expected the opposite due to the geographical proximity of Spanish and the much higher exposure to it in songs and so on), and sometimes Portuguese sentences even sound like authentic French sentences spoken with an accent, something which pretty much never happens with Spanish!
I also feel like grammatical structues in Portuguese are closer to French than they are in Spanish, or at least they are easier to grasp.
I can unfortunately barely speak any Portuguese because I mostly rely on recognizing cognates rather than memorizing them, and there aren't that many words I can actually use to form sentences with, but having done a bit of the Duolingo tree really helped me familiarize with the sonority and basic grammar of the language, and now I can read it with a lot of ease!
I can relate to what you are saying. My first language in English, but I have mostly mastered French and I went next to Italian, but something told me to study Spanish, and I figured to try Portuguese and Romanian. Portuguese is a gorgeous-sounding language. I encourage anyone who wants to sample all the five Romance (From Rome, not romance) languages to try them all out :)
That’s amazing! I want to learn French haha, but it may not happen soon. :(
You can learn French. If you learn the shortcuts and some rules, the mysterious silent letters at the end and other challenges become simplified if you have a good teacher. I highly recommend Language City channel on Youtube by Alexandre Chambure. Bonne chance (Good luck).
It is just my subjective opinion, but I find Iberian Portuguese to be much more mysterious sounding, more foreign and exotic, much more difficult to understand and almost unattainable than Brazilain Portuguese. To me the Portuguese of Brazil sounds more like Spanish than the Portuguese of Portugal.
Portuguese of Portugal used to sound pretty much like Russian to me (I'm Brazilian). One day, I started watching Portuguese Youtubers and then it started to sound better to my ears now acquainted to it.
It does sound more similar. I haven’t heard Iberian Portuguese, just talked with Brazilian Portuguese speakers.
For a Spanish speaker (or sufficiently proficient), I think after one gets through the 'phonetic habituation' barrier, Portuguese can become quite understandable. I have been in conference calls with people speaking in Portuguese (Brazilian accent). At the beginning of the call I was completely lost, but after 1/2 hour of listening, I realized I was understanding the gist of the conversation, and I could jump in with my comments in Spanish and be understood. The phonetics of Italian seem to be a lot more similar to that of Spanish, and one can understand a lot of the words at the beginning of a conversation, but I think there is more common vocabulary between Portuguese and Spanish.
Once you learn two or more Latin languages, the rest become progressively easier. Getting your hearing adjusted to the different phonetics seems to be the biggest challenge. After that one can recognize many of the words from the other Latin languages you may already know.
At first, I had a lot of trouble learning Spanish after achieving the B2 level in Italian and I could not agree more with the following statement:
"The phonetics of Italian seem to be a lot more similar to that of Spanish, and one can understand a lot of the words at the beginning of a conversation, but I think there is more common vocabulary between Portuguese and Spanish."
After being acquainted with the phonetics of Spanish, it became easier to understand and express myself in Spanish.
PS: I'm Brazilian, by the way.
As long as you don't mix them you'll be fine.
No joke, I never get them confused haha. They are definitely different languages.
Just because it's a common complaint from some learners of both languages... the potential mix-up between the two.
I too was shocked at how similar Spanish and Portuguese are in written form. A Portuguese friend told me that on paper the two languages are 85% similar. However, when speaking Spanish speakers cannot understand Portuguese, yet Iberian Portuguese speakers can make out what Spaniard say with considerable difficulty. It would be interesting to hear the experience of native Spanish and Portuguese speakers in more detail.
It would be interesting to hear the experience of native Spanish and Portuguese speakers in more detail.
I can read Spanish with some ease as there's a high degree of mutual intelligibility. As for hearing, the difficulty level is raised a notch but I can get most of what they are saying, depending of course on the kind of conversation.
Provided you don't mix them up, learning one will already give you a head start of some 50% on the other.
You're welcome Joe.
I second this. I can make out written Portuguese very well, and I can understand about as much spoken as I can because I’m not fluent in Spanish - in fact my listening skills need great improvement. Luckily I live near a Spanish speaking country so we have a lot of speakers in my area.
I can understand spoken Portuguese already. I want to be able to write and speak it.
I tried the Portuguese course out of curiosity (and as an alternative to Spanish), and I found it to sound beautiful as well. I like that if you can speak Portuguese, you can understand Spanish, too. If I ever seriously study a third language, it will probably be Portuguese.
I did Spanish because it’s overall bigger, but Portuguese is an amazing language.
I agree. Being a Spanish speaker I was surprised how quickly one could pick it up without extensive schooling (mind you: many people I spend large amounts of time with are Brazilian). It's surprisingly also simpler than Spanish, thanks to the magic Ficar and Gostar de among many examples.
For sure! I looked at a tutorial about infinitives and the infinitives appear to follow the same rules as Spanish. Plus I saw many familiar ones.
Brazilian Portuguese does sound beautiful but I love "phonetically complicated" languages so I'm rooting for my Portuguese: European Portuguese. It's incredibly similar to Russian phonology with all the "sh" sounds and pronouncing several consonants together [we love to not pronounce the vowels :)]